Help for Addictions

Disclaimer  The information presented  has been compiled from knowledgeable sources for educational purposes only. It is not exhaustive in nature. It does not claim to take the place of competent medical advice, treatment or diagnosis of disease. Therefore, the use or misuse of any information contained herein is at the sole risk and discretion of the user. For diagnosis, treatment or any other procedure including allopathic medical advice, see your medical doctor. For healing, see the Great Physician. (Exodus 15:26)

Directly below are tips for overcoming  addictions to  smoking, gaming, and alcohol. This section includes many general tips that may be helpful. We recommend everyone read this section first.  This section is called 
Breaking the Chains of Addiction

 For Overcoming Specific Addictions scroll down to find 
Tips for Overcoming Drug Addictions that may include

Depression (and Discontinuing Antidepressant Medications)

and

Tips for Overcoming Drug Addictions that may include Opiates

Breaking the Chains of Addiction 

 The chains of addiction have their clasps around the greater majority of people today.  For some, it is an addiction to a substance- like smoking or using drugs. For others, it is drinking alcohol or excessively eating junk food.  Many are addicted to practices like gambling or media in the form of gaming, social media, television, or pornography.  There are few who form these bad habits deliberately, but by frequent repetition of the acts, habits are formed unconsciously and become so firmly established that the most persistent effort is required in order to change courses.

A study by researchers in the United Kingdom shows that it takes only a little more than 2 months on average to break a bad habit. 

  Addiction is defined as the persistent compulsive use of something harmful to the user.  Like a growing monster, the habit seems to get worse the longer it is practiced.  Whatever your particular problem may be, you know you are addicted when-- a habit begins to rule your life and you feel unable to control the time spent or are unable to stop doing it, you lie about it to others, you use money for the habit that is needed for necessities, or the habit takes the place of family events and outings with friends. If you have tried to 

quit, you may have had physical withdrawal symptoms-like sweating, chills, anxiety attacks, or a racing heart. Surprisingly, a study by the Detroit Free Press even showed television to be addictive—manifesting actual withdrawal symptoms. (Proof Positive pg. 286)  But there is good news; others have gone before, and proven it is possible to have victory over addiction.   Here are seven simple steps to freedom from addiction. 

 7 Steps to Freedom

1.  Recognize you need help – Congratulations! If you are reading this you have probably already completed this step.

As soon as you acknowledge your need, you have help, for Jesus Christ will never abandon the soul for whom He has died. Unless His followers choose to leave Him, He will hold them fast. Claim the key of promise, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)   and it will open the door to freedom from the chains of addiction. 

2.  Develop personal motivations for quitting—Here are a few examples: 

          I don’t want to be a danger to others -  Smoking-  experts estimate that just 20 minutes of breathing smoke-filled air makes a nonsmoker’s blood platelets as sticky as the platelets of a pack a day smokers.  In such a condition, nonsmokers were more likely to form clots that could cause a heart attack or a stroke.  (Tuft’s University)  Also, in the US, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, second hand smoke causes as many as 300,000 cases annually of respiratory infections in children under the age of 18 months. Alcoholic Beverages contribute to 100,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable death.  

          I want to have more energy, better health and live longer – Smoking accounts for 87 percent of all cancer deaths, 82% of all chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths, 21% of all coronary heart disease deaths, and 18% of all strokes.  Statistics show that half of regular cigarette smokers die prematurely of smoking-related disease.  Nine out of 10 diagnosed with lung cancer will die of it. Alcohol even in moderation is an immune suppressant. It takes only two drinks to reduce antibody production by two-thirds.  Alcohol increases cancer risk. Other side effects with as little as one drink per week include high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems, elevated triglycerides, low blood sugar, gout, anemia, chronic fatigue, etc.  Even as little as 1 ½ ounces a day leads to cirrhosis of the liver. 

Health benefits of kicking the smoking habit

Within 8 hours-Blood carbon monoxide levels drop to normal and blood oxygen levels increase to normal. 

Within 1 to 9 months symptoms of chronic use such as coughing, nasal congestion, shortness of breath and fatigue decrease. 

Within 1 year- Risk of heart disease is decreased to half that of a tobacco user 

Within 5 years- Lung cancer death rate for a pack-a-day smoker decreases nearly 50 percent. Within 10 years it is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. 

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          I want to have more money to spend for vacations and other things - More than 86 billion dollars are spent annually to purchase alcohol. Even just 5 drinks a week (figured conservatively at $6 per drink) will cost $1560 by the end of a year.  The average pack-a-day smoker spends almost $200 each month on his or her habit—and over $2,000 each year.   

          I want to be a better example for children and grandchildren- This is an excellent motivation for some people.  Think about how you would react if your child or grandchild copied your habit.  

          I want to be able to heal broken relationships caused by addiction – Unfortunately, even some of the lesser publicized addictions like gaming and social media have taken over the lives of people and caused broken homes.  Among addicted gamers who are married, up to 50% report a strain in their marriage because of addiction.  (addictionrecov.org)  A survey of 1,500 gamers and their partners said games had already cost 5% of them their relationship.  

3.  Have supportive people around during the process – Many people find having someone to be accountable to, helps with overcoming addiction.  

Reporting daily your success (or failure) will give you additional incentive.  Also this will break long periods down into shorter periods.   For example, saying, I can go without smoking today or this week, is sometimes easier than focusing on a longer term period.  In addition, if you can find social support, like someone else who is quitting or has recently quit, it is often helpful.   

4. Pick a quit date and change your environment if possible – We should never put off the breaking of a bad habit.   It is said, To break a bad habit—Drop it!   But sometimes this may require some preparation.  

For smoker’s this may mean laundering smoky smelling clothes, emptying ash trays and removing all traces of the habit in your home.  Some people find going on a mini vacation may help to avoid mental triggers and supply a diversion for the first few days.  For gaming and media addictions, getting away from the media device is often necessary and wilderness therapy is often used.   

5. To drop a bad habit- Pick up a good one  God knew what he was doing when  he said, Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21   One of the most oft repeated practical tips from addiction overcomers is finding something better.   

For example, quitting smokers tend to be very thirsty and increasing fluid intake will not only help to flush out poisons, but will give you something to hold in your hand.  Get a water bottle and reach for it whenever you would normally smoke, drink, or eat junk food.   In the book Water Cures: Drugs Kill, several former alcoholics report that simply drinking enough water each day cured their craving for alcohol.  Another scientifically proven replacement is exercise.    In one study, researchers tracked the progress of 281 women enrolled in a smoking-cessation program.  All the women attended the same cessation sessions. However, half, who were chosen randomly, also engaged in three vigorous workouts per week while the others attended health lectures.  At the end of the twelfth week, twice as many exercisers were smoke-free as non-exercisers.   Exercising is particularly helpful because it increases the production of two mood-elevating chemicals (endorphins and norepinephrine). Exercise, especially outdoor exercise, helps to reduce cravings and cut down on stress while promoting sound sleep and relaxation.  It also assists in weight management.  Making sure you get adequate nutrition will also reduce cravings.  Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. The crunch of things like carrot sticks can help fill a need for something in your mouth. Whole grains and legumes will fill you up without filling you out.  

6.  Eliminating other addictive substances will increase your success rate - Addictive substances have been found to build on each other.   For example, teens who smoked cigarettes are 14 times more likely than their nonsmoking companions to try marijuana. One study concluded that a 50 percent reduction in the number of teens who smoke cigarettes can cut marijuana use by 16 to 28 percent. (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse)  Removing alcohol, nicotine, coffee, tea and other caffeinated products from your diet eliminates a serious success saboteur.   Smokers who have stopped smoking, but continue to use alcohol experience a relapse rate twice as high as those who don’t use alcohol.   Relapse rates also climb in those who continue to use coffee.  This is due to the fact that caffeine is also addictive.  

7.  Claim God’s Promises and don’t give up—There is nothing like realizing you don’t have to fight the battle alone.  James 4:7,8a says, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Your part is to choose God’s way, and resist the devil using the first 6 steps.  

Jesus will come to be the helper of all who put their trust in Him.  He will make up for your human deficiencies.  He endured forty days without food, and he can understand the power of temptation.   Claim the promise found in 1 Cor. 10:13, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. When the problem seems too big for you, cry out to Jesus for help.  Divine Power connected with human effort has long been the recipe for success against the giants of addiction. 

Tips for Overcoming Drug Addictions that may include

Depression (and Discontinuing Antidepressant Medications)


checklist ASCERTAIN AND DEAL WITH/ELIMINATE THE CAUSE OF DEPRESSION

·         Toxic overload- mercury, lead, arsenic, bismuth, toxic building syndrome, etc.

·          Addiction--  caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

·         Social –stress, divorce, sexual abuse, etc.

·         Lifestyle—no regular exercise, fresh air, or sunlight

·         Disruption of Circadian Rhythms – insomnia, routinely sleeping more than 9 hrs. or less than 6 hrs. a day,  not having regular hours for sleeping or eating

·         Other medical conditions – Adrenal gland or thyroid disorder, PMS, Uncontrolled diabetes, stroke, head injury, hepatitis C, postpartum depression, Parkinson’s, lupus, heart disease, etc.

·         Nutritional – low dietary tryptophan, low omega- 3 intake, low folate/folic acid intake, low B vitamin intake

·         Other Frontal Lobe Hits -high meat, cheese or sugar diet, low carbohydrate diet, excess TV  or internet viewing, Rock Music, fornication/guilty conscience, etc.

LIFESTYLE HELPS

·         Establish religious and Social support

·          Regularity --Establish regular exercise, sunshine, and sleep patterns

·         Nutrition – Establish a plant based diet

·         Increase folate-chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans

·         Increase Omega-3’s – Flaxseed (Linseed) Oil--1 Tbsp =7520 mg, Walnuts ¼ c=2043 mg, ground flaxseed, green soybeans

·         Increase tryptophan – tofu,  ground flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, gluten flour, sesame seeds, almonds

·         Hydrotherapy – increase intake of water internally, also a 30 minute warm (102 -106°F) bath just before bed is helpful

·         Classical Music Therapy – Have the patient listen to or sing music that draws the mind heavenward (1 Sam. 16:23)

 

PROCESS FOR DISCONTINUING ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

·         Abruptly discontinuing mind altering drugs can result in suicide – Much prayer and  careful monitoring are required

·         Change lifestyle for one month before discontinuing, this gives time for those changes to positively affect the brain

·         Allow  2 weeks – to gradually decrease dose to the lowest dosage possible

·         Then over the next 2 weeks- have the patient begin skipping a dose every other day

·         Finally, for one week, have the patient take the lowest dose of the medication just twice a week before discontinuing the medication altogether. Keep in mind that particulars may vary from patient to patient.

 

Tips for Overcoming Drug Addictions that may include Opiates

When you have been addicted to an opiate, the brain is used to having the drug releasing opiates and it “gets lazy”…  This happens because opiates deplete your brain’s natural feel good chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which control how you feel.

The Opiate Freedom Center states, “If you’ve used opiates for longer than 2-4 weeks, then you’re probably lacking in natural “feel good” brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Your brain has four primary neurotransmitters and each plays a critical and different role in your health and how you feel. The four primary neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, GABA, acetylcholine.

So what do they do for you?

Serotonin regulates sleep and appetite.

Dopamine is the feel good chemical, plays an important role in mood, energy, attitude, motivation.

GABA acts as your calming neurotransmitter, helping you relax.

Acetylcholine for processing information and memory.

Endorphins are feel good chemicals our bodies release under extreme pain. They are considered the bodies own opiates.

When heroin and other opioid prescription pain relievers are abused for longer than a couple weeks, your brain slowly stops producing these critical neurotransmitters.

And here’s why: Opiates release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do. When heroin and other opioid prescription pain relievers are abused for longer than a couple weeks, your brain slowly stops producing these critical neurotransmitters.” https://www.opiate-freedom-center.com/opioid-addiction-naturally-increase-your-bodies-endorphins-serotonin/

This information tells us that to overcome withdrawal symptoms we must “trick” the brain  into again producing these critical neurotransmitters and endorphins (happy hormones) which are our own natural opiates.

Here’s a few excellent ways you can help your body to naturally release endorphins after drug addiction.

MUSIC – Music is powerful and can move you emotionally. When you’re coming off opiates you’re body probably feels like it’s thawing out. Your bodies probably more sensitive to touch and sound. Good music can absolutely help your mood and get those brain chemicals working again.” https://www.opiate-freedom-center.com/opioid-addiction-naturally-increase-your-bodies-endorphins-serotonin/

We recommend upbeat Christian, classical styled music like Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus or other similar songs from Handel’s Messiah.  Also Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto or Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Vivaldi’s Gloria or 4 Seasons—Spring, etc may be helpful. 

LAUGHTER –Have a laugh with friends to release endorphins.   The Bible tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 

SUNLIGHT – bright light increases Serotonin production in the body. Spending time in the sunlight can absolutely improve your mood and also soothe muscle aches by releasing endorphins.

EXERCISE – is one of the best natural ways to produce both serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Vigorous exercise is best because the stronger the physical demand you place on your body, the greater the release of endorphins. Some people recommend “jumping jacks” or a very brisk walk.  Work out as long as you can.

MASSAGE – stimulates the release of endorphins.  It is kind of like passive exercise.  Massaging your own scalp and shower massager’s can provide an affordable alternative to expensive treatments. Massage therapy can feel wonderful.

HYDROTHERAPY-- All water can work as a remedy! Being in water, fully submerged and swimming can do wonders for your mood, and is therapeutic for your body. A visit to your local lakes, beaches, rivers or whatever else is nearby might prove to be relaxing or invigorating.  Hydrotherapy of a hot shower or a warm Epsom salt bath may also relieve pain.  A hot water bottle may also prove beneficial.

Also drinking extra water has proved beneficial to some people.  They find it beneficial to be able to sip water whenever a craving hits them.

NUTRITION -- The withdrawal stage is physically taxing, so recovering addicts must eat healthily during this period. Organic and natural unprocessed foods are highly recommended. 

“Carbohydrates aid in the production of serotonin, which facilitates a happy, stable mood; aids in sleep; and helps curb food cravings. Low serotonin levels can result in sleep problems, irritability, and depression.”

“Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, also are the foundation of neurotransmitters. Low levels of neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, can trigger an individual to turn to substances to feel better, as most substances markedly impact the body's dopamine levels. Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine, and serotonin is made from tryptophan. If an individual lacks either of these amino acids, synthesis of the respective neurotransmitter is disrupted, which affects mood, aggression, and the desire for drugs or alcohol.”

“Omega-3 fatty acid consumption may help with depression by assisting in the uptake of neurotransmitters and decreasing inflammation. Having a proper balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids helps neurotransmitter receptors function, which in turn helps increase the amount of neurotransmitters that can be active in the brain.4 Supplements containing polyunsaturated fatty acids have been recommended to help reduce anxiety in people with substance abuse.”

‘Other vitamins important for mental health include iron, folate, and vitamins B6 and B12. Deficiencies of any of these nutrients can mimic mental health problems such as depression, fatigue, poor attention, and altered sleep.”   http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/120914p44.shtml

All these add up to the need for a diet rich in foods like tofu, nuts and seeds (especially flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds),  legumes/beans, seaweed, whole grains like oats and quinoa, and fruits and vegetables.

 CHAMOMILE — Chamomile tea is readily available in your lawn or at the grocery store and it has been helpful for some people. They recommend 4-5 cups a day.  Studies on rats  have also showed a positive effect from chamomile for dealing with withdrawal symptoms. “Matricaria chamomilla extract inhibits both development of morphine dependence and expression of abstinence syndrome in rats…. results suggest that M. chamomilla extract inhibits the development of morphine dependence and expression of abstinence syndrome” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12832855